A variety of compliments to suit everyone & why compliments shouldn’t be solely appearance based.
How good to you feel when you receive compliments? Sure, it might be awkward at first, but it usually ends with a sense of flattery. But did you know that getting a sincere compliment has the same effect on our mood and mindset as physical rewards such as money? And much like kindness, the compliment giver also receives a health boost of serotonin. It’s a two-way street, really. You give a compliment to improve someone else’s happiness, and you also improve your own.
Compliments are a free, quick, and easy way of making someone’s day a little brighter. But have you ever noticed how appearance-based the majority of them are?
“You look great! Have you lost weight?” ????
People are all too quick to comment on someone’s body, looks, and general overall appearance. But how often do we take the time to tell someone just how much we appreciate them for their hard work, perseverance, friendship, etc? What about the things they’re good at? Or the things they work hard for? Maybe even the way they treat others?
I don’t love my husband or my best friend because they look good in a pair of jeans. Instead, it’s for their big hearts, their sense of humor, and the strength they exhibit in the face of adversity.
The problem with appearance based compliments.
By giving people compliments based on appearance, looks, weight, etc we reinforce the idea that we’re only as good as our physical attributes. And if you really think about it giving someone compliments based solely on an unimportant part of who they are can be a bit insulting. It suggests that there is nothing more to that person than their appearance when, in fact, they have one hundred other wonderful traits just waiting to be complimented. Those are the parts of a person that really matter. In reality, our importance and significance neither starts nor ends with our appearance. Instead, it lies in how we treat others, how we speak to ourselves, and so much more.
“There’s lasting damage to be had when we constantly compliment someone on their appearance while ignoring their other attributes.”
If a young person constantly has their appearance focused on as their main contribution to the world, it can damage their confidence in other areas of their life. By constantly ignoring their intelligence or compassion for their appearance, we reinforce the thought that nothing else matters as long as you look good. It doesn’t matter that you’re a great listener or mathematician so long as your makeup is flawless and your waist is thin.
All you have to do is look to Instagram to see what I mean. The difference between the likes on images of beautiful, white and thin women is striking compared to posts that try to teach us something. I’ve seen it myself on my own social media. The posts that have the most engagement are those of me in a bikini or wearing make up. Even though my posts always try to have some sort of meaning behind them such as coping with body image or breaking down myths about body size in eating disorders, I doubt many read the caption and only see the image heading it.
“If I try harder or wear more makeup, then I’ll be pretty enough.”
We should never feel like we need to change ourselves or how we dress, appear, etc in order to gain approval. Nor should we feel like approval is there to be gained by strangers in the first place. But due to the social media culture that we’ve created, it’s all we’re seeing.
Therefore it’s important to focus on the other beautiful attributes that make you the person that you are. Concentrate on your intelligence, your compassion, your ability to be a good listener and your kindness. By giving alternative compliments to yourself and others we can help kickstart the conversation around non-appearnce based compliments and encourage young people to look toward the other parts of themselves that really matter.
20 Ways to compliment someone without mentioning weight or appearance.
- “You are so much fun!”
- “You’re really good at…”
- “You look so happy.” Telling someone that they look happier is, in my opinion, fine, it might even be more flattering than complimenting someone on their weight loss.
- “You really inspire me to do” or “because…”
- “I really appreciate you as a friend.”
- “You’re great to talk to because you take the time to listen to me.”
- “I always value your opinion.”
- “I’m really lucky to know you.”
- “I love how confident you are.”
- “I love being around you.”
- “I am so proud of you.”
- “You’re so kind.”
- “You always make me laugh.”
- “You’re a great person to depend on.”
- “You bring out the best in me.”
- “I always look forward to seeing you.”
- “You make me feel at ease.”
- “I can always count on you for motivation.”
- “You make me feel less alone.”
- “You’re such a strong person.”